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Terminal Illness Travel Insurance

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Travel insurance can prove invaluable for travellers, particularly if an illness or accident means they need medical treatment while abroad, have to be flown home early, or have to cancel their trip before they’ve even boarded the plane.

For travellers that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, though, finding holiday insurance can prove rather more complicated, because ordinary, run-of-the-mill travel insurance usually won’t cover them – they’ll need a specialist type of travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions.

If you have a terminal illness you may want to hop on a plane, train or boat as soon as you can and go visit each of the far-flung places on your bucket list, but travel insurance providers will need to know about your illness even if you still feel fit, healthy and ready to fly.

That’s because your illness will increase the risk of you needing medical treatment while abroad, and could also make it more likely that you have to be flown home early if your health deteriorates.

Those factors mean you will almost certainly have to pay more for your travel insurance, and some insurance providers may be willing to cover some eventualities but not others.

For example, if you have been diagnosed with a terminal illness some travel insurance firms may offer you travel insurance that covers you if your flight is cancelled, you lose your luggage or encounter a problem with your hotel, but may not cover the cost of any medical treatment you require while abroad.

Still, some specialist travel insurance providers might be willing to cover the cost of medical expenses or emergency travel arrangements, although the premiums they will charge obviously will reflect the greater risk they are taking.

Given the fact that your premiums are sure to be higher if you need terminal illness travel insurance, and some insurers may offer a policy that doesn’t cover medical expenses, it would be a wise decision to compare a range of travel insurance with medical conditions before deciding which insurance company to use.

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Can I get travel insurance if I have cancer?

Yes, there are a growing number of specialist travel insurance firms that are willing to offer travel insurance to people with cancer.

However, it is important to remember that how much your insurance premiums will cost, and whether the insurance company will be willing to cover the cost of overseas medical treatment, may depend on your cancer’s prognosis.

If your cancer is in an advanced stage, or if you have been advised that your cancer is terminal, some travel insurance companies may only be willing to cover non-medical eventualities (for instance, losing your luggage or being stranded due to a storm), while others may be willing to cover potential medical expenses but charge a high premium because of the increased risk.

It is also worth stressing that under no circumstances should you fail to disclose your cancer (or other pre-existing medical condition, for that matter when you take out travel insurance. If you don’t disclose this type of medical condition your insurance policy will probably be invalid and your insurer may refuse to pay out if you need to make a claim.

Can I fly without travel insurance if I have a terminal illness?

Travel insurance is not mandatory, so you are free to fly without taking out any kind of holiday insurance policy even if you have been diagnosed with cancer, lung disease, coronary artery disease or another terminal illness.

However, if you do make the decision to forego insurance for pre-existing medical conditions it is important to understand the rules and regulations that govern emergency care in the country (or countries) you plan to visit.

While you should be entitled to medical treatment anywhere in the European Economic Area or Switzerland for free (or at a significantly reduced cost) if you carry a European Health Insurance Card, if you are venturing further afield you may be obliged to pay for your medical treatment out of your own pocket if you don’t have appropriate travel insurance.

In some countries you may not receive any treatment at all until you pay for the medical expenses upfront, so if you decide to travel without medical travel insurance it would be wise to take a credit card with you, at the very least.

Should I take out an annual travel insurance policy if I am terminally ill?

Annual travel insurance policies can be cost effective if you are planning to travel a lot during the year ahead, but for people with terminal illnesses annual policies could prove prohibitively expensive.

This is because your insurance provider would be offering insurance today against something that might or might not happen almost a year from now, and for those with a terminal illness things can change considerably during the course of a year.

So if you are planning to travel extensively and would like to take out terminal illness travel insurance you may find it is cheaper to take out a series of shorter insurance policies, rather than one long policy that covers you for the full year.